Open Access Status of Journal Articles from ERC…

Open Access Status of Journal Articles from ERC Funded Projects :

« The main objective of this analysis is to estimate the extent to which journal articles from ERC funded projects are available in an open access.

A list of 630 journal articles reported in 88 mid-term project reports formed the basis of this analysis. A web-based search to find openly accessible versions of these articles was undertaken from a computer network with no subscription linked to it. Articles were classified as available in open access if the web-based search yielded a copy of the journal article, an author personal copy or a pre-print.

The results show that 62 % of journal articles from ERC funded projects are available in open access. The share of articles in open access varies across research domains. It is close to 70 % in Life Sciences, 65 % in Physical Sciences and Engineering and nearer 50 % in Social Sciences and Humanities. A comparison with the data on open access status provided by the grant holders in their mid-term reports shows that self-reporting leads to an underestimation of the proportion of open access articles.

The potential policy implications of the results are highlighted in the last section of the report. They include among others, the idea of using soft measures to further encourage open access and seeking the cooperation of the libraries of organisations hosting ERC grantees to ensure that the ERC’s Open Access policy is well aligned with institutional policies and practices and does not place an undue burden on researchers. »


Open access versus subscription journals: a comparison of scientific impact

Authors : Bo-Christer Björk, David Solomon


In the past few years there has been an ongoing debate as to whether the proliferation of open access (OA) publishing would damage the peer review system and put the quality of scientific journal publishing at risk.

Our aim was to inform this debate by comparing the scientific impact of OA journals with subscription journals, controlling for journal age, the country of the publisher, discipline and (for OA publishers) their business model.


The 2-year impact factors (the average number of citations to the articles in a journal) were used as a proxy for scientific impact. The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) was used to identify OA journals as well as their business model.

Journal age and discipline were obtained from the Ulrich’s periodicals directory. Comparisons were performed on the journal level as well as on the article level where the results were weighted by the number of articles published in a journal.

A total of 610 OA journals were compared with 7,609 subscription journals using Web of Science citation data while an overlapping set of 1,327 OA journals were compared with 11,124 subscription journals using Scopus data.


Overall, average citation rates, both unweighted and weighted for the number of articles per journal, were about 30% higher for subscription journals. However, after controlling for discipline (medicine and health versus other), age of the journal (three time periods) and the location of the publisher (four largest publishing countries versus other countries) the differences largely disappeared in most subcategories except for journals that had been launched prior to 1996.

OA journals that fund publishing with article processing charges (APCs) are on average cited more than other OA journals. In medicine and health, OA journals founded in the last 10 years are receiving about as many citations as subscription journals launched during the same period.


Our results indicate that OA journals indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus are approaching the same scientific impact and quality as subscription journals, particularly in biomedicine and for journals funded by article processing charges.